With official data now available, state redistricting commission sets timeline for rest of redistricting process

With the 2020 Redistricting Data summary files from the U.S. Census Bureau now in hand, the Washington State Redistricting Commission met Aug. 16 and agreed to a schedule of important dates and deadlines that will lead to the delivery of final Washington state legislative and congressional district maps by Monday, Nov. 15.

“After having received the official data from the Census Bureau, we knew it would be important to settle on additional dates that will govern our processes so the public knows what they can expect from their redistricting commission as it moves towards the final deadline,” said Commission Chair Sarah Augustine. “Due to delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the timeline is compressed in a way that leaves us less than three months to develop and publicize draft maps, receive public feedback, and agree on final maps.”

Important dates to note:

  • End of August – The DrawYourWA mapping tool will be live with the official Census Bureau redistricting data and the state’s adjusted data based on relocation of persons in state custody to their last known address for purposes of redistricting. The public will be informed as soon as the data has been uploaded.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21 – Commissioners will each release their proposed state legislative district map.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 28 – Commissioners will each release their proposed congressional district map.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5 (7 p.m.)  Statewide Virtual Public Outreach Meeting to receive feedback on state legislative map proposals.
  • Saturday, Oct. 9 (10 a.m.) — Statewide Virtual Public Outreach Meeting to receive feedback on congressional map proposals.
  • Friday, Oct. 22 – Deadline to ensure full consideration of third-party map submissions by the commission.
  • Monday, Nov. 15 (11:59 p.m.) – Deadline for commission to submit final maps to the state Legislature.

The U.S. Census Bureau summary files, originally expected by April 1, 2021, was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By law, Washington state uses these summary files to draft new legislative and congressional district maps that will apply to elections over the next decade. The law also directs the Redistricting Commission to relocate individuals in state custody to their last known address for purposes of redistricting.

Data experts are currently unpacking the data so that it can be uploaded to the mapping system that the commissioners will use to draft maps. The same data will be available for those who wish to use the DrawYourWA mapping tool to draft and send third-party map submissions for the commission’s consideration.

“For the first time, the public can log on to a mapping tool found at www.redistricting.wa.gov and draft their own visions of what our legislative and congressional districts should look like,” Augustine said. “We look forward to seeing how the people of Washington think their districts should be drawn with the official data.”

Given the compressed timeline for drafting and negotiating legislative and congressional district maps, the commission suggests that those submitting third-party maps do so by Oct. 22 so that commissioners have enough time to review and consider the submissions. Despite the suggested deadline, the public will be able to send their comments regarding the commission’s work right up to Nov. 15 using one of many methods found at the “How to Participate” page on the commission website.

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